In these tight economic times, a pay raise is no longer a given, yet it is possible to get one. But how do you get it right? Lisa Templeton has some tips
There is an old saying popular among salespeople: if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. So, in order for someone to say ‘yes’ to something, you first have to ask them for it. The secret to getting an increase is, firstly, to have the courage to ask and, secondly, to be sure you deserve it – and can convince your boss you do too.
Asking for a raise is a delicate matter you need to handle with care. It’s no good steeling yourself and then tackling your boss on impulse and blurting out that you want more money. No business likes to waste money, so you need to convince your boss you are a good investment. You want to show that you add value, deserve it, and that their money will be well spent.
But remember this and take heart: a good boss knows that a valuable employee is worth looking after. Unhappy staff are unproductive and resignations mean spending good money on hiring and training replacements.
Preparation is everything
Plan ahead and keep careful records Keep track of all the good work you do so you have examples of your track record. Not many others will bother to remember your achievements.
Be eager to learn To show you are keen and committed, take opportunities to learn all you can. Take online courses, attend seminars, find a mentor within the business and let it be known you want to progress.
Look the part Always pitch for work looking well groomed, neat and professional. You want to dress for success!
Timing is key If people are being retrenched all around you, lie low. But if you have taken on the work and responsibilities of any former colleagues, or if you have had a great year and brought in good money, now is the time to speak up.
Find out what a fair salary is This is a tricky one. You need to know what people are generally paid for doing what you do, and then persuade your employer that you deserve to be at the top of that range. Ask headhunters and look on websites such as mywage.co.za or careerjunction.co.za.
Know how much you want Be practical in your approach and calculate by what percentage you want to increase your salary and the total amount per month
so that can spell it out.
How to ask the question and get the answer you want
1. Schedule a meeting. Choose a convenient time when you and your boss can meet in a stress-free manner – you will know when is best. Let your boss know that you want to chat about career growth and reviewing your compensation, so that they can be prepared too.
2. Kick off the discussion on a positive note. The golden rule is not to be negative. It’s no good going in guns blazing and insinuating that the company isn’t paying you enough or whingeing about an increase in your rent. Instead, you’ll want to say how much you enjoy working there and how you have relished all the challenges that come with your job. You could say something like:
‘In the past year, I have enjoyed taking on new responsibilities and I feel I have grown into the role and made some valuable contributions’.
3. Give your boss a chance to talk. Once you’ve stated your case, listen to what your manager has to say and play it by ear. You may feel you need to give more detail and examples of when you have gone the extra mile.
4. Let your manager know you’re keen to grow within the business. You want to send the message that you want to progress and ask how you can make sure you do that. It’s always a good idea to put the message out there to jump-start results.
What if I still don’t get that raise?
The good news is that your company now knows you value your work and are keen to advance. And you can request other benefits:
• If you enjoy your job and aren’t ready to look elsewhere, ask your boss if you can study anything to help you further your career, and whether they would help you fund it.
• If the company is open to the idea, ask to work flexitime – motivate your request with reasons why this will make you more productive.
• If you’ve been able to show that you work hard and go the extra mile, consider asking for more annual leave. A solid break is great for productivity as well as motivation!